Andrew Tarantola

Ford CEO Farley Explains Business Factors Behind Argo AI Formwork | Engadget

Shortly after Wednesday afternoon’s announcement that its standalone subsidiary Argo AI would be shut down, Ford CEO Jim Farley joined the company’s third-quarter earnings call and spoke at length. how senior management made this decision. “It is estimated that over a hundred billion has been invested in the promise of level four autonomy,” he said on the call, “and yet no one has defined a profitable business model at scale “.

In short, Ford is refocusing its investments on the longer-term goal of Level 4 autonomy (it’s a vehicle capable of navigating without human intervention although manual control is still an option) for the short-term gains more fast in L2+ autonomy and faster L3 . L2+ is today’s state of the art, think Ford’s BlueCruise or GM’s SuperCruise technologies with hands-free driving along pre-mapped road routes, L3 is where you board the vehicle managing all safety-critical functions along those routes, not just steering and lane. -keeping.

“Bringing the L4 Autonomy to market, at scale, is going to take much longer than expected,” Doug Field, director of advanced product development and technology at Ford, said on the call. “L2+ and L3 driver assistance technologies have a wider addressable customer base, which will allow them to scale faster and be more profitable.”

“It’s about taking that investment and putting it into a business where we think we’ll have a big short-term return versus a business that has a long arc,” he added. The company didn’t specify a specific timeline for when it would potentially be ready, thinking Farley pointed out that development of the foundational technologies needed for Tier 4 won’t be won quickly. “We’re not expecting a single ‘Aha!’ time like we used to,” he said.

Farley predicts that the updated L2+ and L3 systems will arrive in the coming years alongside the company’s second cycle of electric vehicles in 2023-2025. “, noted Farley.

Fields emphasized the importance of keeping many of the core functions of these evolving ADAS technologies in-house. “We’ll have a core team that can integrate a system, understand its performance at the system level,” he said. “And we’ll own the software. It’s really important that we own the connection to those vehicles as well. L3 is connected technology, so the ability to have a pipeline that collects data and makes the system better and better – we must have it.”

“It’s a problem that doesn’t exist in L4 and it’s a huge opportunity for us to create a truly unique Ford experience.” Fields said.

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